A month ago, I wrote a heartfelt, thoughtful (at least I think it was) piece about Jeff Carter and Mike Richards. What it boiled down to was that these two guys are the centerpieces of the franchise, really, really good players that any team would love to have, and two guys who weren't going anywhere.
Then today fucking happened. In the span of less than an hour, the Flyers inexplicably traded their leading goal-scorer and their captain. The first move was surprising enough, shipping off golden boy Jeff Carter and his 11-year deal to Columbus in exchange for 21-year-old Jakub Voracek (14 goals, 32 assists last year), and a first- (8th overall) and third-round pick.
I honestly didn't believe the Flyers would trade Carter given the length of his deal and how much the Flyers brass seemed to like him. But his trade wasn't completely shocking. Paul Holmgren and Ed Snider traded for the rights of the top goaltender on the market in Ilya Bryzgalov, and they are determined to sign him. The Carter move was the cap relief they needed to sign the franchise goalie they've been looking for and still give them some flexibility to fill out the roster and re-sign guys like Ville Leino and Darroll Powe.
I wasn't exactly thrilled about losing a perennial 30-goal scorer, but so be it. The Flyers had forwards to spare, and they need that goalie.
But then Paul Holmgren and Ed Snider went out and did the stupidest fucking thing they could do, trading away Mike Richards, easily this team's best two-way player, its captain, an all-star like Carter, a guy who does everything in his power to try and win, to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds. Schenn is a 19-year-old who has played in a grand total of 8 NHL games, going goal-less in all 8. Simmonds is a 22-year-old who has a grand total of 39 goals and 54 assists in three full NHL seasons. In other words, in three years he has three more goals than Carter scored last season alone and 9 more assists than Richards had last year alone.
Sure, the Flyers just ridded themselves of their two longest contracts and got a lot younger, but they also just traded away two of their best players, two guys who are among the better players in the entire NHL. What the fucking fuck?
What good is it signing a top-notch goaltender if you're going to trade away the best players in front of him? It makes abso-fucking-lutely no sense, and I'm pissed about it. Really pissed.
If this team doesn't win a Stanley Cup this coming season, and they won't, this will go down as one of the stupidest days in Flyers history. This was a team that was believed to be a goaltender and a piece or two away from hoisting the Cup, not a team in need of a major overhaul. Yet that's what they just did. And guess what, now it puts a huge bull's eye on Claude Giroux's back.
Hopefully he can handle it, and I'm sure he can, but now night in and night out, every team will be focusing on his line and Danny Briere, and he and Briere individually as well. There is no more Carter. No more Richards. No more scapegoats.
The fucking retarded Flyers fans that have been calling for the heads of Carter and Richards finally got what they wanted. Now who are they going to blame when this team doesn't come through? I'm genuinely interested to see.
Today I think my head exploded. I honestly never saw any of this coming. And there's a reason for that: Because none of this should have happened. Mike Richards and Jeff Carter are franchise players. They've been to a Stanley Cup Final and two Eastern Conference Finals. They've made the Flyers one of the elite franchises again. And now they've been discarded for a goaltender who has never even had a good playoff run.
Don't get me wrong, I wanted Ilya. But not at this price. Not even a little bit.
Fuck you, Paul Holmgren and Ed Snider. You've lost your fucking minds.
I hope the fans in Los Angeles and Columbus give Richards and Carter the respect they deserve. Because those two guys gave it their all for this franchise, and I'll never forget that. Even if Ed Snider and Paul Holmgren already have.